The album was named after the age of the singer during its production. Composed in the aftermath of the singer's separation from her then partner, the album typifies the near dormant tradition of the confessional singer-songwriter in its exploration of heartbreak, introspection, and forgiveness. Adele began writing 21 in April , when still involved in the relationship that subsequently inspired the record. Dissatisfied with once again portraying herself as the musical tragedian of her debut, she had intended to compose a more upbeat and contemporary follow-up. However, studio sessions ended prematurely due to a lack of inspiration. She resumed production immediately after the breakdown of her relationship, channelling her heartbreak and depression into her songs. Praised by critics for its understated production, vintage aesthetic, and Adele's vocal performance, 21 defied the modest commercial expectations of her independent record label XL Recordings. The album topped the charts in more than 30 countries and became the world's best-selling album of the year for and
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It was released on November 20, through XL Recordings. However, Adele decided to take a hiatus instead and raise her son. According to the singer, the album's title is a reflection of her when she was 25 and the frame of mind she was in during that age. The album achieved commercial success by debuting at number one in more than 25 markets and broke first-week sales records in multiple countries, including the United Kingdom and United States; in the US, the album sold 3. A month after its release, the album had sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. Many journalists regarded the album as having an impact on the music industry by encouraging the public to return to buying physical albums, instead of downloading or streaming.
Issued nearly five years after her previous album, the internationally successful 21 , the album is titled as a reflection of her life and frame of mind at 25 years old and is termed a "make-up record". Its lyrical content features themes of Adele "yearning for her old self, her nostalgia ", and "melancholia about the passage of time" according to an interview with the singer by Rolling Stone , as well as themes of motherhood and regret. It was a massive commercial success, debuting at number one in 32 countries and breaking first-week sales records in multiple countries, including the United Kingdom and United States. In the US, the album sold over 3. Following 21 , it was certified Diamond by the RIAA , making Adele the only artist of the s to achieve this certification with two albums. Four singles were released to promote the album, with " Hello " becoming an international number one song and the fastest selling digital single in the US, with over a million copies sold within a week of its release, " Send My Love To Your New Lover " charted within the top 10 and " When We Were Young " and " Water Under the Bridge " charted within the top 20 across Europe and North America. Credited for impacting the music industry by encouraging a renewed interest in buying physical releases rather than downloading or streaming and much like 21 , for saving the dwindling sales of the UK and US music industry, 25 won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and the Brit Award for British Album of the Year. To promote the album, Adele embarked on her third worldwide concert tour, Adele Live It started on 29 February and ended on 30 June